You’ve read the title for this blog post. Are you wondering if I’m suggesting that happiness and homeschooling are mutually exclusive? Yep. That’s exactly what I’m suggesting. I’m thankful my friends Andy and Kendra Fletcher were the first to be honest about it, saying that homeschooling can be a buzz kill. It is possible to have a happy homeschool, but you need a homeschooling psychologist to tell you how.
Listen to the podcast
Before I go any further, I have to address the controversial issue. Which controversial issue you ask? The use of the word happy in my title. In some Christian circles, happiness is treated like the pagan step-sister of the word joy. Don’t believe me? I was once asked by a conference organizer if I would be speaking about happiness rather than joy. Happiness was strictly forbidden. You can imagine how happy I was to have this person listening to my every word and verifying that no happiness talk was included.
It’s okay to be happy. Really.
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand the theological difference from joy, which is a fruit of the spirit and isn’t subject to circumstances, while happiness is a fleeting human emotion. But I also believe that God created us to seek happiness. Happiness is related to the release of dopamine in our brains. Dopamine allows us to learn. Dopamine motivates us. Without happiness, we would all be the Hoho-eating, couch-dwelling bums we are often assumed to be. Seeking happiness isn’t evil, unless you are sinning or you’re a psychopath who enjoys inflicting pain on others. I’m going to leave that determination up to you and I will proceed.
A happy homeschool. How the two fit together.
I’m hoping all the psychopaths stopped reading. I also hope that I’ve established that being happy and seeking after it is a good thing. You can thank me later for absolving you of that guilt. But what I haven’t resolved is happiness and homeschooling. How do they fit together? The problem that most of us have is that we begin homeschooling, believing that it will make us happy. Well, maybe not homeschooling per se. Most of us believed that homeschooling was a path to well-behaved, godly children, who would one day win the national spelling bee.
If we really want to dig deep, and I do, we may admit that we thought homeschooling was a way to make ourselves look good as parents. Maybe we could prove to the naysayers that we actually know what we’re doing. The trouble with this is obvious. We had no idea what we were doing when we began homeschooling.
Homeschooling won’t make us happy.
And choosing to homeschool in order to be happy is an even bigger problem. Homeschooling can make us miserable. I met one of my now good friends when she had just begun homeschooling. She told me, “My son doesn’t want to follow my plan!” I just laughed. Our strong-willed kids never want to follow our plan. And even our submissive kids, if they had any sense, wouldn’t want to follow our plan. Our plan, when we are starting out, is nuts. We try to teach 15 subjects a day using 30 different books. And our schedules would make Navy Seal candidates turn and run. No human being can complete the obstacle course we call a schedule. Between being pregnant, nursing a baby, chasing a toddler, cleaning up after the preschooler, managing the tween’s attitude, and standing our ground with a rebellious teen, we have zero energy left to sew them matching outfits or grind the wheat for homemade bread. If you haven’t yet begun homeschooling, consider this episode your warning. Happiness is not ahead.
“I thought you said this was about how to be happy and homeschool too?” I know that’s what you’re thinking. I’m a psychologist, so I have that gift. I AM going to tell you how to be happy and homeschool too. But I had to make it clear that homeschooling won’t make us happy. I promise you, it won’t. If we want to be happy and homeschool too, we have to be happy first. I know some moms who want to homeschool and are unhappy. Perhaps they long for another child. Maybe their marriage could use a tuneup. Or maybe they aren’t happy working outside of their home. If you add homeschooling to your unhappiness, you’re highly likely to be miserable.
Get happy first.
Before you homeschool, you have to work on your happiness. Yes, happiness is work. It isn’t something that is bestowed on us by the happiness fairy. Happiness doesn’t come from getting married, having a baby, or getting an Instant Pot. (But in case you really want one, I’ll include a link.) Like physical fitness, happiness requires consistent attention. If you’re unhappy right now, keep reading. It gets worse.
Do things that make you happy.
Happiness isn’t a passive activity. Because happiness is a human emotion that is short-lived and tied to our circumstances, we have to pursue it regularly. One of the biggest mistakes we make with respect to happiness in our homeschooling is we stop doing the activities that used to make us happy. When I began staying home with my first child, I lost a considerable amount of income. Without consulting my husband, I decided that I would not spend any money. I didn’t feel I had earned the right to spend. I was not only living very frugally, but I had no social contacts. The relationships I had were all at work. It didn’t take long for me to become very depressed. If that’s you, I encourage you to listen to the episode I did on depression for Homeschooling in Real Life.
Here’s how I got my happy back. I started a Bible study with other stay-at-home moms at my church. We started going out occasionally to eat as a group, away from our husbands and children. Gasp! I spent money. I left my husband and my children at home. I did and I’m proud of it because it saved my sanity. I also started scrapbooking regularly with my friends. I had a hobby that I spent time and money on. It made me happy.
[Read how I still fit scrapbooking into my busy life]
Do things you used to enjoy.
If you want to be happy and homeschool too, you have to do things you used to enjoy. Depressed people do fewer and fewer pleasurable things. The solution can be as simple as pursuing those pleasurable activities once again. I can hear you making excuses right now. That’s another of my psychological skills. “I can’t afford to do the things I used to do.” My response? You can’t afford not to. You could spend a modest amount of money on the hobby or the social activities you used to enjoy or you can spend 5 to 10 times as much on treatment for your depression. You choose.
The fun is just beginning. If you want to be happy and homeschool too, you must do things you enjoy. You also must exercise. If you don’t have time to exercise, you don’t have time to homeschool. My opinion is that exercise is more important than homeschooling. How can I speak this heresy? Because in a homeschool, you are the most valuable player. Without you functioning well, your homeschool will fall apart. Your marriage will fall apart.
I think of a homeschooling mom like a thoroughbred. I don’t know much about horses, but I know that I would never race a horse that had had no workouts. Every day in the life of a homeschooling mom is a race. In order to be at our best, we have to exercise. Exercise is the most powerful drug we have. It can treat depression, anxiety, and it can prevent a host of physical illnesses. Best of all, it’s free and has very few side effects if it’s done correctly. Exercise releases endorphins that make us happy in the moment, but happier all day long. It doesn’t have to take long. A recent study demonstrated that three vigorous ten-minute walks were more effective than a longer walking session at a moderate pace. Take the kids with you. Get them dancing with you to Christian Zumba or on Wii Zance Party. Or get really crazy and go to the gym without them. To quote Nike, just do it.
Get enough sleep. Or even more.
If you are spending time doing things you enjoy, and you’re getting regular exercise , you are ready for step number three to make you happy. After racing my thoroughbred, I would not ask it to teach long division or correct papers late into the night. I’m going to give it adequate rest.
To be happy as homeschooling moms, we have to get enough sleep, even more than enough sleep. If you believe that you’re getting enough sleep, but you’re not that happy, add an extra half hour of sleep to your schedule and see what happens. Sleep deprivation makes us cranky. It’s produces fatigue, which makes running our homeschooling race so much harder. As moms we recognize our kids need for sleep. Let’s recognize our own. As I have gotten older, and more specifically hormonal, I need more sleep. I get it, even if doing so means I can’t keep up with my Navy Seals schedule.
[Read how to homeschool through hormones]
I can hear you again, and you’re saying you don’t have time to sleep. You have a baby, a toddler, or a teen waking you up at night. Then take a nap. A short nap of 20 minutes can do wonders in restoring your energy and your mood. Have a nap while your kids are napping. Ask an older child to supervise a younger while you nap. Put on a video. Allow the kids to play a beloved game. Yes, I mean a video game. Or hire a mother’s helper so you can nap. It’s all worth it to be happy.
It IS possible to have a happy homeschool.
I could give you more ideas (I just did above!), but these three (pleasurable activities, exercise, and sleep) are enough to get you started. When you are working to achieve happiness, you can be happy and homeschool too. In fact, with a happiness foundation in place, you can find yourself being even happier in your homeschooling than you ever dreamed. Homeschooling can be a buzzkill. But it can also be one of the most rewarding careers a mother can have. I have been homeschooling for 19 years. I have enjoyed a closeness in my relationships with my kids that thrills me. I marvel at the closeness my kids enjoy with their father and with one another. And the blessing of learning together is an experience not to be missed. But these blessings come after we are already happy.
Which of these happiness tips are you going to practice today? Tell us in the Homeschool Sanity Facebook Group.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent way too much time trying to make digital homeschool planners work for you, when they just don’t!
That’s why I created the Easiest Homeschool Record System Ever that you can easily customize for your kids. I still think it’s a great way to keep homeschool records. But something happened that made me create a form that I think is even more MOTIVATING for kids (and for parent teachers, too).
I call it the Quarter Checklist, but you may call it a lifesaver!
Here’s how I came up with the idea. We were nearing the end of the school year. Some of my kids were behind in some subjects and were close to being finished with others. I really wanted them to be done with their independent work before we went on our family vacation. So I asked them what lesson they were on in each subject. I then made them a checklist of lessons to complete to be done with the school year. Here’s what happened.
- My daughter became obsessed with finishing her school work, even begging to stay home from scrapbooking so she could work.
- My son began working through multiple math lessons a day.
- My older son spent hours finishing up his history reading.
All without any nagging on my part! That’s when I got to thinking.
How could I motivate the kids to work this way all year long?
I thought about what made that list so effective and here’s what I realized:
- It was a closed list. My kids knew that if they finished the list, they didn’t have to keep working.
- It was a short list. Unlike the list in their regular planners, the list seemed very doable.
- It offered a reward. Not only were we going on vacation when they finished, but the kids worked for the reward of having free time.
- I could do this during the school year too!
So I created a school quarter checklist for next school year.
The great news is I created one for you, too. Here’s how it works:
Click to Get Your PDF
Make a list of each subject your child will do independently. Label one column with that subject. For example LOF for Life of Fred Math. You may need more than one sheet per child, depending on the number of subjects. If you end up with multiple sheets, note the page numbers at the top of the forms. Don’t have something next to each checkbox? Even better! Your child will feel like they have very little to do!
For each subject, determine how many total lessons s/he will complete in a year. Divide that number by four.
List the lesson or page numbers for the first quarter next to each check box on the form. If your children’s handwriting is neat enough, you can have them complete these forms themselves. If that isn’t a sanity saver! (If you run out of room for that subject, circle NEXT PAGE; otherwise circle YOU’RE DONE!)
Write the date the quarter officially ends in front of the year and plan a reward. We love to go out for breakfast. If your student finishes before that date, s/he enjoys the reward of no independent work (even if family subjects and classes continue through the quarter).
Store your completed checklists on clipboards. There’s something about a clipboard that’s so motivating! I love these Dexas clipboard cases that have space for notebooks and pencils and have a carrying handle. Don’t you? There is a color for every student.
Even if your child has multiple pages to work with, the perception will be that their lessons are very, very doable! Because that’s the case, your student is likely to be extra motivated. One tip: only plan one quarter at a time. Life happens!
How to Use the Quarter Checklist as a Teacher
I know I’m not the only one who gets discouraged when I get behind on my school plans. Using the Quarter Checklist, I think I can not only stay on schedule, but even get ahead. Here’s why:
The kids will be motivated to move through lessons quickly so we can get done with ALL of our schooling ahead of schedule.
I will be motivated to finish all the lessons because I’m working with a closed list.
I can use the form to show them how we’re doing after taking a sick day or free day to motivate them to spend extra time with me on subject.
Get Your Quarter Checklist Planner Free
(You can print it in color or black-and-white using your printer settings).
I’d love it if you’d share the sanity with homeschooling friends and let me know how it’s working for you on Facebook. Check out the other great ideas I’m pinning on Pinterest.
I wrote about sending my son, who had been homeschooled his whole life, to high school as a junior. It’s hard to believe that was three school years ago.
I know there are many homeschooling parents who have wondered if they should send their children to school, particularly when it comes to high school. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to answer that question for you. I don’t know you, your child, or your school district. Even if I did, I could give you bad advice. What I can do is tell you what I learned from the process and tell you where to go for help in making the decision: God. He knows what is best for your child. He has proven Himself trustworthy to us. I believe He will for you, too.
I share what I’ve learned in case it will be helpful to you.
Public school isn’t always the enemy.
I had heard horror stories and I was terrified. Our local high school’s website said that homeschoolers would have to be interviewed by department heads to determine what grades they would be given for previous coursework. When we met with the guidance counselor, I was prepared for a fight. If the school planned on giving my child anything less than the grades he had earned, I wasn’t willing to enroll him!
We had submitted my son’s transcript and PSAT scores prior to our meeting. The counselor handed us an official transcript with all his courses and grades on it, just as we had reported. I said, “You’re just going to accept his courses and grades?” She said yes. Not only that, but she asked if my son wanted to enter as a senior because he had so many credits. He declined because he wanted to build up an even stronger transcript for college.
I don’t know if my son’s PSAT scores were taken as validation of his coursework or if this is how any homeschooler would be treated. I have heard of other homeschoolers being forced to repeat high school years.
In our case, the public school was our ally, not our enemy.
Public school can be validating.
I have heard the story of poorly prepared homeschool students entering public school and failing socially and academically many times. It’s a popular tale among teachers commenting on homeschooling online. I was worried that teachers would use my son to confirm that narrative.
Instead, my son came home and said that one of his teachers had this conversation with him:
TEACHER: “You were homeschooled right?”
MY SON: “Yes.”
TEACHER: “Your parents have done something right. You’re an excellent student.”
I just wanted to hug the man. It isn’t that I didn’t know that my son is a good student. It’s that I’ve never had my teaching of him praised. It was nice to hear.
My public school stereotypes were wrong.
Even though I went to public school, my views of it have changed as a result of the media and warnings from the homeschool community. I honestly expected a completely out-of-control morass of immorality.
I agreed to help serve lunch to the theater group at the high school. When I walked into the lunch room and saw everyone sitting and talking quietly, I was astonished. When I served the teens lunch and they all thanked me, I was again surprised.
Because my son is extremely social, he has introduced us to dozens of young people he met in the various groups he was in. It’s been a joy to get to know them. Many of them share our faith, which was another surprise. While they have shaken my public school stereotypes, I believe we have given them a non-stereotypical view of homeschooling, too.
My son needed to experience public school.
My son had a much different set of stereotypes about public school than I did. In his mind, public school was filled with cool kids who loved to discuss what they were learning and teachers who all loved to teach. I did my best to relieve him of those stereotypes, but it wasn’t until he went to school that he had a better perspective. He later told me that there were just as many weird kids at public school as in homeschool groups (ha ha), that there were kids in advanced courses who would play video games instead of listen and discuss, and that some of his teachers were just plain awful.
His funniest realization (for me anyway) was this: “I could have learned in two weeks what it took them a whole semester to teach.” Ahem. I told you so.
His saddest realization is that unkindness exists everywhere. As a homeschooled kid at church, his experience was that his friends who weren’t homeschooled tended to ignore him in favor of their schoolmates. I think my son hoped that once he was in school that this wouldn’t happen anymore. It did, in various settings.
I’m so thankful that he was able to learn these lessons while living at home. We had plenty of discussions about what he was learning and experiencing and his dad and I were able to give him guidance. Everything he experienced has also served him well in college.
While I’m thankful for the lessons learned by sending my son to high school, I can’t recommend it to everyone. I still have reservations about sending young people who aren’t strong enough spiritually, academically, or socially to succeed. My next three oldest sons do not want to attend public high school at this time. But if they change their minds or my younger children want to go (and the Lord confirms that decision), I won’t be terrified.
Have you sent your child to public school after homeschooling or are you thinking about it? Let’s chat about it on Homeschool Sanity on Facebook.
Check out what the other iHomeschool Network bloggers learned from their kids.
I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, but I don’t see patients and I don’t teach at the university. I gave that up to stay home with my children and homeschool them.
The most stinging criticism I received for that choice was:
“What a waste.”
It wasn’t “what about socialization?” or “how can you possibly teach children at different levels?” or “I would be crazy being home with my kids all day.” It was “Don’t you think you’re wasting your education?” that got to me.
Truth be told, there was a part of me that agreed with those critics. I had accumulated $30,000 in debt for my education. I had also invested ten long, tearful years in school and practice for the privilege of calling myself a clinical psychologist. I could have helped hundreds of people had I continued practicing the past 16 years that I’ve been homeschooling. Yet I chose to pour out my education for the sake of six little people who call me mom and not Dr. Wilson.
I’d like to tell you that I had thoroughly thought through that choice, that I had counted the cost, and that homeschooling was the clear winner in my deliberations, but that isn’t how it happened. Instead I found myself pouring out what I thought was so precious without even fully knowing why. I just knew I had to. I wanted to.
I was like another woman two thousand years ago who was accused of waste.
“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Matthew 26:6-9
I wonder if, like me, this woman ever second-guessed herself. Who could she have helped? What else could she have become if she hadn’t chosen to waste what she had? Jesus answered her question and He answered mine.
“Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” Matthew 26:10-11
There will always be people in need of counseling. These poor souls will always be with us. But my children won’t be. My oldest has just finished his first year in college and day after day I think, “I wish I would have taught him this, too.”
When I was counseling, the number one pain point for the people I saw was a disconnect with mom or dad. Mom or dad weren’t there to guide, weren’t there to teach, weren’t there to encourage and the hurt of that carried on for decades. It’s true that I have poured out my education–wasted it even–for the sake of six children I love so much. I never wanted them to sit in a therapist’s office saying, “She was never there for me.” In pouring myself out for my kids, I believe I’ve done a beautiful thing for them and for Christ, to whom I was being obedient. Not every mom is called to homeschool, but I was.
As hard as it was to hear how I was wasting my education when I chose to stay home, I was also so encouraged. At the time I was leaving the Christian practice I was in, a dad with his Ph.D. was joining us. When he learned why I was leaving, he said,
“I’m so proud of you.”
I still get misty thinking of that. More than most, this man understood the sacrifice I was making–the sacrifice I am still making, with no regrets.
And so homeschooling mom who has wasted your education to homeschool your children, I want you to know I’m proud of you, too. What a beautiful thing you’re doing.
I would love to get to know you better at Homeschool Sanity on Facebook.
Be sure to read more reasons iHomeschool Network bloggers chose to homeschool.
Grammar and writing can be a tedious subject to teach. Fortunately, there are so many amazing free games available to make teaching them fun. Until now, you had to Google your heart out to find them. No more! Below is an organized list of FREE grammar games for teaching parts of speech, punctuation, sentences and writing. I’ve described each game so you can decide if it’s for you. Following each section is a Pinterest board including those games. Follow them and be sure to pin this post so you can reference it later.
More Grammar Game Sanity
None of these games are online games. For a great list of online games, instruction, and quizzes for grammar, see The Best Free Grammar Websites. Many of the following games are appropriate for both classroom and homeschool use. I love to use games that require multiple players in our family co-op.
To make prepping many of these games even easier, pick up an Amazon laminator
Free Parts of Speech Games
Adverb & Adjectives Game – Players must correctly identify adverbs and adjectives and use them in sentences to keep cards.
Go Fishing for Grammar – Play Go Fish with parts of speech cards.
Grammargories – Students compete to write words for parts of speech the fastest.
Jenga Review – Students have to answer a corresponding grammar question before placing it on top of the tower.
Play the Bag Game – students win a point for each part of speech (drawn from a paper bag) used correctly in a sentence.
Grammar Hopscotch – Students have to think of an appropriate word for the part of speech when they stop to pick up their marker.
Hot Potato Grammar – a cross between the Hot Potato game and musical chairs to identify parts of speech.
M & M Challenge Code – A chart for M & M colors and parts of speech that could be used for games of your choice.
Noun and Verb Charades
Parts of Speech Bingo
Parts of Speech Tic-Tac-Toe
Penguin Parts of Speech Game – Students move around the game board after identifying the part of speech in the sentence.
Race Around the Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives Game – players must move to a word on the game board that fits the part of speech drawn.
Roll, Say, Play Adjective or Adverb Game – Students roll a die and write a word using dry erase marker in the correct column. Winners have the most cards correct.
Solve It! Parts of Speech Game – this game treats parts of speech like a mystery to be solved.
Spaced Out Adjectives and Adverbs Game – two teams divide into aliens and spaceman. Drawn cards must be identified as adjectives or adverbs. Words modified must be identified as well. Players who draw a planet card lose all their cards.
Students as Props – Three students have either noun, verb, or adjective taped to their foreheads. Other students tape appropriate words to each student.
Word Dominoes – Cards with words and parts of speech on them are played like dominoes.
Word-Eating Whale Game – an empty milk jug is transformed into a whale and is used to eat caps that have verbs on them (and not nouns) in the tub.
Basketball Pronoun Game – basketball-themed board game teaching he and she pronouns to young or special needs learners.
Make it Plural! – Students have to give the plural form of nouns in this board game.
Post It Note Noun Hunt – Players find Post It Note nouns and sort them into person, place, and thing categories.
I Have…Who Has? Plural Nouns Game – This game is played like Go Fish.
Irregular Plurals Card Game – This game is played like Go Fish. Students ask if the other players have the singular or plural form of the noun to make a match.
Grammar Game for Plurals and Possessive Nouns – Students compete with different colored markers on a dry erase board to write the most plurals and possessives in categories.
Pick a Dot Pronouns – Students remove a dot to reveal a pronoun that they must then use in a sentence.
Plural Nouns Four Corners Game
Possessive Nouns Game – Uses illustrated cards.
Possessive Nouns Sorting Game – Students can time their sort to make it a game.
Pronoun Slap Down – identify and collect types of pronouns.
Pronoun Word Detective – Includes a matching a board game to teach pronoun identification.
Proper Noun Sit Down, Stand Up – Power Point slides of common or proper nouns are used to have students sit down for common nouns and stand up for proper.
Proper Noun Tic-Tac-Toe – Players must write a proper noun for the listed common noun as their X or O.
Pumpkin Common or Proper Noun Scavenger Hunt – players look for pumpkins hidden with common or proper nouns on them and record which they are when they find them.
Shining Plurals – Players must identify the plural form and can then keep the card. If they draw a string of lights, they have to return their cards to the pile.
What Gets a Capital Letter? – Students use this board game to determine which words should be capitalized and why.
Gator Grammar – Players must identify the past, present, or future tense verb to finish the sentence. Drawing a gator results in loss of cards.
Grammar Sandwiches – Can be played as a matching or Go Fish game for irregular verbs.
Phineas and Verb – Students have to use the correct verb tense in this card game based on the Disney show.
The Verb Game – Students compete to write as many unique verbs that can be associated with a place as possible.
Slap It! Irregular Past Tense Verb Game – Students compete to be the fastest to slap the past tense form of the verb and win the cards underneath.
Verb Balloon Pop – Students pop balloons that contain paper slips with verbs that must be taped onto the correct tense. This could be a race or just for fun.
Verb Race – Students have to write the correct past tense form on dry erase boards to advance on the game board.
Verb Relay Race – Each leg of the relay uses a different action verb.
Verb Freeze – Students act out verbs like charades.
Verb Vine – Players must make the changes to the verb directed by the game board.
Adjective File Folder Game – Students use picture adjectives to prompt them to give thorough descriptions.
Adjective Game Time Filler – Players answer questions about themselves. They sit down if the adjective doesn’t apply, leaving one winner.
Adjective Mystery Bags – Students use adjectives to describe objects in mystery bags.
Alphabetical Adjectives Connect the Dots – You could have students race to complete their pictures by connecting the adjectives in alphabetical order.
Apples to Apples Adjectives – Players draw picture cards and try to submit the best to match the adjective card drawn.
Monster Adjectives – Monster picture adjectives board game.
Roll the Dice Adjectives – Students have to use 10 vivid adjectives to describe the noun picture they roll.
Adverbial Action – Students play charades with adverbs
Adverb Jeopardy – Played like Jeopardy with students identifying the adverb in the sentence.
Adverbs of Time Snakes and Ladders – A Chutes-and-Ladders type board game for adverbs.
Adverb Sort – Players time themselves as they sort adverbs by the questions they answer.
How Often Adverb Game – Board game in which players must answer personal questions using adverbs of time and frequency.
In the Manner of the Adverb – One player leaves the room. The remaining players draw an adverb and act it out when the missing player returns. The returned player must guess the adverb.
Miming Adverb Game – The student draws a verb and adverb card and acts them out. The remaining players must guess both words and use them in a sentence to describe the student’s action.
Walk the Walk Charades – Another adverb charades game
Back to School Prepositions Bingo – using pictures of school-related objects
Bug Prepositions – bug themed cards can be used for Go Fish or Lotto.
Cowboy and Cowgirl Preposition Game – cute board game using a cowboy and cowgirl moving around based on preposition cards.
Games for Teaching Prepositional Phrases in Middle School – Games include Knock Once, Sentence Wars, Weave a Tale, Bad Day Charades, Prepositional Phrase Jeopardy, Drama Time and Sing It.
Motor Skills Preposition Game – a game that lets young children work the wiggles out while teaching prepositions.
Prepositions Board Game – game requires players to use the correct preposition in a sentence. Great for ESL students.
Where is the Bunny File Folder Preschool Preposition Game – players choose the sentence that describes the pictures of the bunny’s location.
Follow Dr. Melanie Wilson @psychowith6’s board Parts of Speech Games on Pinterest.
Free Punctuation Games
Comma Relay – A comma is exchanged between runners who must correctly punctuate a sentence for their leg. Contraction Bingo – this two-player Bingo game teaches contractions. Contraction Concentration – Students match contractions in sentences to the words that form them. Dinosaur Bones Punctuation Game – Players move to the space on the board with punctuation that matches their sentence card. Green Eggs and Ham Punctuation Game – Seuss-themed board game. Players must choose the ending punctuation of sentences on cards. Minion Contractions Game – Players help each minion find the two words that make up his contraction. Missing Punctuation Game – Cards contain sentences mission punctuation. Players locate the punctuation marks on the game board. Name That Punctuation Mark – Students are given clues to use to identify the punctuation mark. Punctuation Car File Folder Game – Young students match the punctuation marks to sentences. Punctuation Mark Tic-Tac-Toe Punctuation Present – This game is played a lot like Bingo. Punctuation Red Light, Green Light – Students play Red Light, Green Light and must follow commands associated with punctuation marks. Types of Sentence Baseball Game – Players catch a crumpled up sentence and determine what punctuation mark it needs. Quotation Mark Showdown – Teams compete to correctly identify and punctuate quotes. Follow Dr. Melanie Wilson @psychowith6’s board Punctuation Games on Pinterest.
Free Sentence & Writing Games
The Better Editor Game – a game I created to teach students to self-edit (and gives parents a way to edit their students’ work too!)
Citation Hunt – Students have to find quotes in a book to support assertions about the book the teacher has made to earn points and beat the teacher.
Consequences – A group writing game with funny consequences.
I Have…Who Has? Subject / Predicate Game – This game is played like Go Fish.
Four Corners Sentence Type Game – Students go to one of four corners corresponding to a sentence type. They sit down if the sentence read matches their type.
Four Kinds of Sentences Game – Identify what kind of sentence is on the card and advance on the game board.
Interactive Games for Sentence Fragments – Includes Words on Strips of Paper (students try to find someone with an independent clause to go with their dependent clause); Pairs Game (students work in pairs to transform sentence fragments into the best or most humorous sentences); and Song Game (teams compete in determining whether song titles are fragments or sentences).
Frog Punctuation Capitalization Activities – Students look for frog-themed sentences around the room, add a capital letter, punctuation, and put them in order.
Guess What Writing Game – Have a student write to describe an object and another player has to guess what it is.
Law & Order Sentence Structure Review Game – Students compete in this game that reviews sentence types and common sentence errors.
Main Idea and Details Game – Teams race to identify the main idea of a group of sentences.
Matching Topic Sentence to Paragraph – Students try to find the other player who has the topic sentence to their paragraph.
Musical Papers – Students edit their peers’ papers until the music stops and then they move to the next paper.
Paragraph Mix Up – Cut up a paragraph into sentences and mix them up. Have students race to put them in correct order.
Poof! Sentence Types – Players draw a strip and identify if it’s a sentence or fragment. If correct, they keep the strip. If they draw Poof!, they lose their strips.
Random Words Poem – See which student can include the most dictionary words in a poem that still makes sense.
Snowy Sentences – Features snowman-themed word cards that have to be put in order to form sentences. Could be done as a race.
Tabloids – Students creative a factual news story and a tabloid-type story. Other players guess which is which.
Telephone Oracle – A group writing game with writers answering questions and then attempting to guess the question that goes with the answer.
The Sentence Game – A great family game. Players fold paper over and add sentences or illustrations with funny results.
Type of Sentence Game – Players try to guess whether a declarative sentence is true, answer interrogatives, perform commands, and reply to exclamations.
What Kind of Sentence is It Scoot Game – Students move around the room determining which type of sentence each is.
Follow Dr. Melanie Wilson @psychowith6’s board Free Sentence Games on Pinterest.
Want More Ultimate Lists?
Check out my Ultimate Guide to Classical Conversations Resources and more lists from the iHomeschool Network bloggers.
My primary desire with this blog is to find solutions to the problems that drive us crazy. With respect to homeschooling, I know that one of the most crazy-making aspects of it is choosing curriculum. You spend HOURS researching. By the time you’re done, you can’t even remember what you’ve looked at and what you haven’t. If you make a choice that doesn’t fit, you start the process all over again.
Most of my education as a clinical psychologist wasn’t on treating patients, but on research. I really enjoy researching things and decided to research curriculum so you don’t have to! I thought science would be a quicker curriculum to research, and while it may have taken me less time than other subjects, IT TOOK ME A VERY LONG TIME. I have tremendous respect for the people who make their living by reviewing curricula. Whew!
How This List of the Best Homeschool Science Curriculum Will Save You Time
But you don’t want to read my whine about how long this took, do you? 🙂 You want the list of the best science curriculum! But before I share it with you, I want to explain how I’ve organized the research. You can read this list of my opinions of the best curricula, pin it, and share it–and I hope you do!
But the real gold I’ve produced is a complete PDF of all the best science curricula for elementary, junior high, and high school students. You can look through the tables within the PDF to find Christian, Catholic, or secular curricula. You can look for curricula by cost, difficulty, teacher involvement, or materials required. But even better, you can click on the BEST REVIEWS for each curriculum. No more Googling for you!! You can save the PDF to your computer for when your child reaches the next level of education or if you want to find something new. You can form your OWN opinions of the best homeschool science curriculum with this list.
The best news of all is that I’m not going to charge you for this great resource. You’ll get it for free when you subscribe to any of my email lists (which includes a Freebies Only list, meaning you’ll only be notified when a valuable freebie is ready for subscribers). Sound good? Click on the picture of the table below, add your email, and BAM! It’s yours as quick as it takes vinegar to react with baking soda. Now on to what, in my opinion, is the best of the best.
Best Elementary Homeschool Science Curriculum
Best Christian Science Curriculum
God’s Design for Science by Answers in Genesis is my top pick. Why? Because it takes the least amount of time to teach, is very interesting (I learn new things every week!), and is light on experiments. As a creationist, this perspective on science is also very important to me. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered if you’re looking for something else. A very close second for best Christian elementary science curriculum is Berean Builders. I love that it’s written by Jay Wile and would be excellent preparation for higher-level science. I’m also crazy about the fact that it’s organized historically. How wonderful to have your science curriculum coincide with your history studies!
Best Secular Science Curriculum
Just because I’m calling a science curriculum secular doesn’t mean that it’s anti-creationist. None of the curriculum I’ve included on my complete list of the best (which you can get by scrolling down) is anti-creation. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, my top pick in this area is Real Science 4 Kids. I love it because the lessons are short, engaging, and very easy to understand. The chemistry explanations are my favorite!
Best Science Curriculum for Experiment Lovers
Supercharged Science is my top pick. This curriculum is perfect for kids who love to investigate (and teachers, too). If you are raising a future inventor, I can’t think of a better choice. Runner-up in this category is R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey. One of the criticisms of it is it has too many labs. The reviews say they’re a lot of fun, so if you’re a lab lover but you don’t want to go full boar, this may be the perfect option.
Not what you’re looking for? No worries! I have included several other elementary science curricula and all the info you need in the complete PDF. Click Here to Get the PDF!
Best Junior High Homeschool Science Curriculum
Both of my top picks for junior high homeschool science are Christian curricula.
Apologia is my favorite. It has just the right mix of interesting, conversational text with labs and it’s not expensive.
Runner-up is The Rainbow, which also has a conversational text and might be easier for some students. It is more expensive, however.
Best High School Homeschool Science Curriculum
Again my top picks are both Christian curricula.
Apologia is once again my favorite. Three of my children have used it and have enjoyed it. The criticism that it does not prepare students for college is unwarranted in my experience.
My second-place pick may be surprising. It’s Switched-On Schoolhouse or Monarch (the online version of SOS). I have been asked by parents of students who struggle with science what they should choose and this is it. It’s less challenging and the least demanding for teachers.
One final option is especially appropriate for high school and that is outside classes through local co-ops. The advantage is your student may enjoy doing labs with others and you won’t have to purchase equipment. If you have an advanced student, consider dual enrollment or AP classes online through programs like Pennsylvania Homeschoolers. My son had an excellent experience taking Advanced Chemistry through them.
Be sure to follow my Homeschool Science board on Pinterest for loads of great ideas to enhance your science curriculum. Happy learning!